From 163,322 people in May 2016, the number of people travelling by air within the country rose to 201,851 persons in May 2017, as many people took advantage of the cheaper domestic airfare to experience air services.
The Deputy Minister of Aviation, Mr Kwabena Darko-Mensah, disclosed this at the Ghana Transport and Logistics Conference on Wednesday (August 16) in Accra.
He indicated that the aviation industry has recorded a significant performance after the removal of the 17.5 per cent VAT on domestic airfare.
“The government through its first budget has removed 17.5 per cent VAT on domestic airfare to make domestic travel affordable. As a result of this policy intervention, the passenger throughput has increased significantly from 163,322 in May, 2016 to 201,851 in May 2017,” he said.
In 2016, the country also recorded a total passenger throughput of 2.4 million. This consisted of 1.8 million international arrival and departing passengers, of 213,232 transit passengers and 421,986 domestic passengers.
Mr Darko-Mensah said this performance indicated that the aviation industry had the potential to grow bigger and achieve the government’s agenda to make Ghana an aviation hub.
“With the on-going expansion at the Kotoka International Airport (terminal three project) it is projected that the passenger throughput will increase from 2.3 million to five million in the next five years.”
Consequently, he said the Ministry of Aviation, together with other agencies, was pursuing some priority projects and programmes to promote growth in the sector.
He reiterated the government’s commitment to encourage and support local airlines and entrepreneurs to set up strong private airlines that could fully utilise the domestic air space.
Towards that end, he said, his outfit had obtained approval from the Nigerian Aviation Ministry for Africa World Airline (AWA) to commence operations to Abuja in addition to its original Lagos route.
“AWA has subsequently undertaken its maiden flight to Abuja on June 26, 2017 and flies daily to Abuja,” he added.
He said the ministry was also committed to a strong administrative and governance structures in the sector to ensure customer satisfaction and ease of doing business with investors and players in the industry.
Conference on transport
The three-day conference was on the theme: “Ghana’s New Momentum in the Promotion of Sustainable Transport and Logistics Value Chains,” and was aimed at addressing key issues in the transport industry.
Mr Darko-Mensah said the aviation sector had the prospects of unlocking access to private capital, promoting the exchange of expertise and bringing about innovation through improved technology and enhancing efforts at tackling challenges related to the transport sector.
“As a ministry, we have no doubt that this conference will come out with well thought out sustainable strategies and solutions to help address challenges in the transport sector.”
Impact of transport and logistics
The Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Shippers Authority (GSA), Mrs Sylvia Asana Dauda, said the impact of transport and logistics as a rapid enabler for total economic transformation could not be over emphasised, especially in the context of a developing country such as Ghana.
She explained that the sector fuelled the growth of industries, commerce and telecommunication and provided a critical pivot in promoting businesses and socio-economic development.
“The great success stories of China, Singapore, and indeed the Asian tigers have all been on the back of an integrated logistics infrastructure which does not only drive economic transformations but also change the dynamics in their socio-economic.”